Magazine article University Business

Arkansas State University Puts Energy into Better Efficiency

Magazine article University Business

Arkansas State University Puts Energy into Better Efficiency

Article excerpt

At the heart of the Mid-South, more than 15,000 students and staff call Arkansas State University home. With a first-year student retention rate of 74.5%, it's clear that the university balances academic and operational needs in the right way.

"Our mission at the university is to educate, enhance and enrich the lives of our students, and being sustainable from a fundamental facilities and physical environment is part of that," said Dave Hakenwerth, Energy Conservation Engineer. "We look at every opportunity to streamline and be more efficient so we can reallocate dollars to our mission of educating students."

For the past three to four years, the university self-financed projects like a composting program by using available funding. Administrators took advantage of utility company rebate opportunities to make improvements, such as replacing boilers. The strategy was working. All new buildings constructed in the past ten years have had low energy consumption as a primary design principle.

"It is great to finance projects internally, but the reality is it takes a long time to make progress. We cannot operate at that pace to achieve the kind of impact we are looking for," said Al Stoverink, Facilities Manager.

In 2009, the Arkansas state legislature passed Act 1494, which encouraged public institutions to reduce their overall energy consumption by 20 percent and new legislation gave Arkansas State access to performance contracting, a financing model which uses projected utility savings to offset the cost projects. …

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